The Women Building the Country: Filipinas in Construction - BluPrint

The Women Building the Country: Filipinas in Construction

October 19, 2021

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By 

Micah Mongcal

Even in our modernized society, the participation of women in construction remains limited. But over the course of time, Filipinas have been breaking barriers, and breaking ground on successful projects. Here, we feature some of the Filipinas in construction who demonstrate excellence, reliability, and a distinctive balanced approach to the typically male-dominated industry.

Isabelita Paredes Mercado of IPM Group of Companies

Isabelita Paredes Mercado, who also goes by “Eisa”, is the head of the eponymous IPM Group of Companies. She began the company as a single proprietorship in the ’80s, supplying and transporting filling materials (“panambak”) for construction sites. During this period, she acquired a large fleet of trucks. It wasn’t until the 90’s that Eisa expanded the business to include construction.

“I’ve never wanted to have a boss. I know that I can accomplish my goals by myself,” Eisa shared in an interview with Rebecca Bustamante, another self-made entrepreneur. This independent mindset allowed Eisa to take calculated risks and have the courage to build the business despite starting with limited funds and manpower.

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Filipinas in construction
Isabelita Paredes-Mercado is a vision of core values in the construction industry.

Today, the IPM Group’s activities include real estate and waste management in addition to construction. Eisa stresses the importance for entrepreneurs to participate in national development – a principle evidenced by IPM Group’s environmentally friendly and innovative methods of handling waste management for a number of cities in the metropolis. The IPM Group’s impressive list of projects also includes construction work for Asian Development Bank Building, Shangri-La EDSA, and Megamall.

Cathy Saldaña-Siegel of PDP Architects, Inc.

As the CEO of PDP Architects, Inc., Cathy Saldana recognizes the importance of helping other women rise to the top, especially Filipinas in the construction industry. “Women before us have put together a path. It’s now up to us to put a red carpet on it,” she says during an episode of the Philippine Green Building Council’s webinar series, entitled “The Women in Green Building”.

Filipinas in construction
Saldaña at the Topping Off Ceremony for Damosa Land’s Diamond Tower, designed by PDP Architects, in Davao City.

Cathy Saldaña’s idea of success is rooted in sustainable growth. Under her leadership, PDP Architects Inc. has been driven towards cultural sensitivity and clean design. In an interview with BluPrint, her husband, Alex Siegel, sums up her approach: “She brings her intelligence, creativity and context to clients.” Cathy Saldaña adds, “It’s about timelessness, being classic, kind, and generous to others.”

Alice Eduardo of Sta. Elena Construction

Dubbed as the “Woman of Steel” for her resilience in a male-dominated industry, and the strength of her accomplishments in the business world, Alice Eduardo has one of the most colorful lives of our industry leaders. The president and CEO of Sta. Elena Construction has built a name for herself through the construction of a large portion of Entertainment City in Parañaque, along with the foundations for several SM malls. She is also known, however, for a lavish lifestyle filled with luxuries such as a Beverly Hills mansion, travel, luxury cars, and designer bags and clothing. She counts a number of celebrities among her close friends.

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Alice Eduardo
Alice Eduardo leading her team with resiliency and strong commitment to development and construction.

In the midst of her numerous business operations, Alice Eduardo finds time to maintain a close-knit family life, and even to nurture her philanthropic projects, such as building a pediatric ward in PGH and contributing to an entrepreneurship program, Go Negosyo.

Alice Eduardo’s success sends a clear message to Filipinas: Yes, you can have it all.

Featured photo by: Ar. Emman Foronda